Because he works there of course!
I hope I gave no moms reading this heart attacks. Hi mom 😀 ❤
Just wanted to give you a quick little update of how the *actual* travel tech part of this travel tech journey is going for Brent.
He expected that each hospital would do things differently, especially as most hospitals all have different computer systems to run their tests. He lucked out in that this Oahu hospital actually uses Sunquest which is what he used at his old hospital in Boise! However, most everything else is done very differently.
His one major complaint is that the hospital he is currently with hasn’t automated most parts of the process. Even though they have the right equipment and programs, none of it is actually turned on! Many things need to be manually programmed into the machine, or reviewed and commented on for no real reason. The most glaring backwards part of the process is that the patient logs are backed up each night … on a CD! They are incredibly particular about each step in the process as well, even when it is nonsensical. The College of American Pathologists and American Association of Blood Bank have very strict standards and certification requirements for labs so there is no sense in adding a whole bunch of redundancy on top of them.
Brent also hates variable shift scheduling which has become a problem since starting nights. The hospital has a rule that those on night shift must have two days off in a row. However, they sneakily got around this rule for Brent by scheduling him for occasional evening shifts so he is not technically “night shift exclusive.” Random different shift times and split up days off make it more difficult to enjoy your time off. Brent knew that he was signing up for a variable schedule but thought the trade off of being in Hawaii would make up for it. He didn’t quite know how horrendously they would try and use him.
Another gripe that he has is with one test in particular, the ACT. At this hospital, techs are the ones that go up to the patients and administer the simple test usually done by nurses. Brent says it is a nice break, but he is uncomfortable with patient interaction which is why he went to school to help people but hide in the lab! It wastes a lot of time and the nurses are rarely patient enough for the test value to be low enough so you end up having to go repeat it every half hour for a while.
The training process was incredibly long, and if for example the hospital had decided not to renew his contract, or we had decided to say no thanks, the entire first stint of 3 months would have been all training. His only complaint with training was that it was pretty intensely watched over his shoulder, and every little thing he did differently (note: not wrong) was immediately “corrected.” Their lab, their rules I suppose!
He was asked if there was anything they could improve based on his experience with other labs (so far just one, his previous Boise lab) so he somewhat reluctantly shared his issues he had with their lack of automation and such precise and unnecessary rules. All they said was he had a good point, “but that’s how it’s done here.”
Seems as though a lot of the automation is being held up as well because they are waiting on a new system they will be getting next year, which, if you are familiar with the lab world, means “eh, maybe next year, maybe the year after, maybe in five, who knows!”
One thing he enjoys is how crazily over staffed this hospital is. It makes life very easy when there are quite a few other techs and lab assistants that are splitting the work with you. He hasn’t had a single moment of stress stemming from not having enough time to get anything done. He used to get quite stressed at his Boise lab because during night shift there were only TWO techs covering four departments at a major trauma hospital, plus all of the clinic drop offs that for *some* reason happened at night with two techs instead of during the day with six or seven. In comparison the hospital here is not a trauma hospital, has 75% the amount of tests run and employs 13 daytime lab techs in addition to a reference lab that runs quite a few of the tests. Brent also absolutely loves his co-workers here in Oahu which is always a plus! It makes it so much more enjoyable heading into work.
So far Brent’s contract has been renewed for another 3 month stint (woo hoo!) so we will be here until October for now. Brent is trying to decide if he will attempt to negotiate a week off in between the next contract, a raise, or better scheduling. He tried for a dollar raise for his second renewal, but after a no he didn’t push it as his fellow travel tech did not get renewed. We didn’t want to risk getting sent home too! What he did get was reimbursement for some cockroach bait since they had been popping up more and more. It’s Hawaii, it’s unavoidable! (We bought this stuff, and haven’t seen one since.)
As for me, I am enjoying the whole travel tech thing so far, it’s month 3 and so far I’m not tired of it! Even though I am a stay at home wife I fill my days with cooking, cleaning, writing this blog, updating a Google map with my recommendations for things to do around the island, watching documentaries, exercising, reading, posting about my fitness journey on my Instagram, and enjoying the great outdoors. It might sound boring to some, but since our whole life right now is basically one big adventure, I am fine with a couple hours a day of more simple time. And I am thankful I don’t have to work!
The one major unfortunate thing about this current situation is housing. The property manager doesn’t seem to care about various issues we have such as the back door being a complete beach to try and open as it is rusted and constantly jumps off the track. The place was a complete disaster when we got here and I spent about 4 days deep cleaning. All the property manager had to say about that was they had paid someone $450 to clean. There were dirty clothes from the previous tenants still lying around, so I call BS! We are going to try going through the company that placed us here, we’ll see how it goes.
What do you think? Do you have any questions about becoming a traveling lab technologist?